NEW ZEALAND: Recent poor weather has severely restricted trials venues, particularly in the North Island. In response, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) and Counties Racing Club held Tuesday’s trials on the sand track at Pukekohe Park.
Feedback from all Trainers with runners was very positive. These included Roger James, Dean Logan, Frank and Shaune Ritchie, Graeme Richardson, Moira Murdoch and Ralph Manning.
It was generally agreed by those trainers who took horses to the trials that the decision to run on sand was a good option, given current conditions under-foot. It was preferable to running the trials on heavy ground, which would lead to further damage to much-needed, rain-soaked grass tracks.
Riders at the trials, who included record-breaking Jockey, James McDonald, were also giving the sand trials a big ‘tick.’
Riders’ comments at the trials included: “The surface was consistent and kick back minimal. Clearly the horses have to work a bit on sand but that is, after all, the intention behind them.”
Around 50 horses ran at the trials. Trials over 1050 metres were being run consistently at between 1 min. 05 secs. and 1 min. 06 secs.
After this successful introduction, NZTR and Counties Racing Club are now considering scheduling another set of trials on the sand on Tuesday, 19 July 2011.